Living Their Dream on the Sidelines and in the Studio
Posted on: January 31, 2024
Tigerville, SC (January 31, 2024) Two North Greenville University School of Communication alumni are living their dream of sports broadcasting and reporting at two television stations in the southeast.
Mary Margaret Ellison (’22) is a sports reporter for KALB-TV (NBC) in Alexandria, Louisiana. The Easley, SC native dreamed of being a sportscaster when she was young. She spent her years at NGU bouncing between various on-air and production roles in the School of Communication, NGU Athletics, and freelance media and internship work across upstate South Carolina.
“I’m getting to do things I never thought I would. I get to cover LSU…I get to cover the Saints…I’ve always wanted to be a sports reporter and being able to live this dream…It allows me to dream bigger and see where I can go next,” Ellison said.
One state away, Ellison’s North Greenville University classmate Kasie Thomas (’22) is also living her version of the dream, but on the sidelines of Ole Miss, Jackson State and dozens of high schools and arenas in the competitive sports scene of Jackson, Mississippi.
Thomas, originally from Wetumpka, Alabama, is a weekend sports anchor and reporter for WLBT-TV (NBC) in Jackson, responsible for producing and presenting highlights through the busiest parts of the sports week and covering individual athlete stories the rest of the time. Shortly after graduating, Thomas said she knew she’d arrived as a professional journalist when she attended SEC Media Days in Atlanta the summer before the fall football season.
“I’m interviewing coaches that I saw on TV growing up. I’m standing in front of these people. They’re looking me in my eyes, and I’m like ‘What?…This is crazy. I can’t believe I get to do this’…it was so exciting,” Thomas said.
Both Thomas and Ellison were part of the School of Communication’s Broadcast Journalism class their senior year, fall of 2021, producing weekly stories and newscasts for Vision TV online.
“The TV news students do it all–pitching stories, shooting video and interviews, writing scripts, editing video and producing and presenting a live broadcast every week. It’s demanding,” said Dr. Randall E. King, Associate Dean for the School of Communication.
“But it’s also incredibly rewarding to see them put a newscast together. Five students made it through to the end of the semester and five–100 percent of them–landed full-time jobs in broadcast news after graduation. And they’re in good company because we have many more School of Comm alumni working in local media all over the southeast,” King said.
Thomas, who admitted the class was a struggle at times, said she is still grateful for her experiences. “As much as I hated having a package (TV news story) every single week, the repetition really helps…making sure you’re writing, having all your scripts…it truly helps because now I do that every day.”
Both young professionals credit NGU with helping them grow in more ways than just media skills. They say their faith in God sustains them in the pressure-filled work environments.
“You can feel the Lord everywhere…North Greenville in general…and being able to be there and feel the Lord’s presence there…and seeing Christ work in me and transferring that to them is probably the best part,” Ellison said.
“Through North Greenville, I became stronger in my faith, and that translated into my job, without even thinking about it—trust God, have faith in what He’s doing and His plan,” Thomas said.
Although they get to work on some of the biggest stages in college and professional sports, Thomas and Ellison say they enjoy reporting the smaller stories the most, featuring high school athletes who compete for the love of the game, their families and communities.
“Mary Margaret and Kasie represent what we hope for all of our communication students–to fall in love with telling stories and connecting with the people behind those stories. That’s how they become transformational leaders in their world – one person, one story at a time,” King said.